Friday, May 13, 2016

The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes

The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes
Release Date - May 10, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Willa Parker, 646th and least popular resident of What Cheer, Iowa, is headed east to start a new life.

Did she choose this new life? No, because that would be too easy—and nothing in Willa’s life is easy. It’s her famous genius mother’s idea to send her to ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive Pembroke Prep, and it’s only the strength of her name that got Willa accepted in the first place.

But Willa has no intentions of fitting in at Pembroke. She’s not staying long, she decides. Not at this school—and not on this planet. But when she meets peculiar, glittering Remy Taft, the richest, most mysterious girl on campus, she starts to see a foothold in this foreign world—a place where she could maybe, possibly, sort of fit.

When Willa looks at Remy, she sees a girl who has everything. But for Remy, having everything comes at a price. And as she spirals out of control, Willa can feel her spinning right out of her grasp.

In Willa’s secret heart, all she’s ever wanted is to belong. But if Remy, the girl who gave her this world, is slip-sliding away, is Willa meant to follow her down?

Andrea Portes’s incandescent, heartfelt novel explores the meaning of friendship, new beginnings, and the precarious joy and devastating pain of finding home in a place—a person—with wings.
Finding your own path can be hard, especially as a teen. There is pressure from your parents, friends, society, and yourself to make decisions. Sometimes your voice gets lost in the noise. The Fall of Butterflies is a story of a girl discovering her own path, and what it means to follow it.

The writing style that Andrea Portes uses to tell this story is a little jarring. The narrator, Willa in this case, is telling the story to the reader in a very direct way. She talks to the reader in a 'breaking the fourth way' way and  it does take some time to adjust to this style. Some readers may not fall into the story right away, I certainly didn't, but once you adjust the story is a worthy one.

I feel so many elements in this story will relate with teen readers. The pressure parents can put on you, the thrill of an exciting new experience, and the friendships that define highschool are all present here. They are all woven together into a story that feels believable. If we haven't struggled with some of the things Willa struggles with, we know someone who has. This ensures the reader feels a connection to the story and the characters.

Willa doesn't feel worthy of being Remy's friend. She's someone who has always been in the background. She gets caught up in Remy and Remy's world easily because it's new and exciting. Being seen by someone like Remy, for Willa, is everything. The author captures the allure of this kind of friendship, and the way people can be so entwined with someone else that they cannot see what is right in front of them. The synopsis takes about finding a home in a person who has wings, and that is so achingly accurate.

There is more than a tinge of manic pixie dream girl to Remy, at least at first. She is this magical, mythical girl who sweeps in and brightens Willa's life. She pulls Remy into adventures, and changes her life. However, Remy is her own person. It's Willa perception that paints Remy in this light.

We all, at times, judge things by their outward appearance. We project our assumptions onto people and things all the time without knowing the full story. This novel shows how inaccurate those can be. The girl that seems to have everything could be falling apart in side. The person whose life you envy could be secretly coveting the life you have. Appearances can be deceiving and there are multiple characters who embody this within these pages.

This novel examines the lengths people go to for friendships, and when to walk away from a potentially toxic situation. As Remy spirals the reader, and Willa, has to wonder how far we should allow ourselves to be pulled down with her. Choosing what is best for ourselves, instead of other people, is often hard. This is especially true when you care about the person and want to help. The fact that you cannot help someone who doesn't want it is something that leaps off these pages. It's heartbreaking and conflicting. Andrea Portes captures this struggle perfectly. It felt authentic and believable, particularly the cycle that Willa and Remy repeat.

Sometimes love isn't enough, and sometimes we have to love ourselves more. That is, ultimately, the crux of this novel. It's all about finding your own self worth, and not defining yourself by other people and your relationships with them. Willa has to learn what it means to want something for yourself, and to find her own voice, and make her own path. 

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